Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change

Ruiu, M. L., & Ragnedda, M. (2021). Use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate changeStudies in Communication Sciences, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.24434/j.scoms.2021.02.004 (Open Access)

Abstract. This paper investigates the use of science in British newspapers’ narratives of climate change between 1988 and 2016. It is based on the analysis of eight newspapers and their Sunday and online versions (Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent). We used the keywords “climate / climatic change”, “warm / warming” and “greenhouse / greenhouse effect” to retrieve the articles from the Nexis / Lexis database. To identify the articles with a specific focus on climate change, we included only those containing the keywords in the headline (9789 items). Framing theory helps interpret the process of construction of the “threat” through science by showing a tendency towards scientific consensus for the centre / left-leaning newspapers, and an instrumental use of consensus for the centre-right. These findings are useful for both scientists and policymakers interested in understanding how climate narratives can promote delay in action on climate change.

The article has two main research questions. The first question relates to the evolution of CC scientific frames in British newspaper re­porting over time:

RQ 1: How have scientific frames of CC evolved in British newspaper reporting?

The sec­ond question investigates the themes associated with the use of scientific frames:

RQ 2: What are the prominent stories associated with the use of scientific frames over time?

The analysis of the topics associated with the use of scientific frames is relevant to understand what topics and aspects of ev­ery day are associated with the scientific construction of CC.

Here the full article

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A few takeaways from our presentation at the Digital Inclusion Policy and Research conference 2021

The Digital Inclusion Policy and Research conference 2021, organized by Prof. Simon Yates and Dr. Elinor Carmi, has drawn upon over two decades of research, policy, and practice.  The primary aim of this conference was to link up international policy efforts to address digital inequalities, access and skills with the outcomes of recent research from around the globe. The conference was a mix of invited presentations from policy and research colleagues, along with open paper sessions.

Maria Laura Ruiu, Felice Addeo and I, in a research paper titled “Internet as a tool of social inclusivity”, attempted to shed light onto the gradual process of digital inclusion.

Here a few takeaways from our presentation.

Our analysis shows the different ways the Internet is used by individuals to increase their “social inclusion” and how, despite their access to the Internet, those people at risk of social exclusion are more likely to lack the digital experience necessary to fully exploit the possibilities the Internet can offer.

By contrast, those who tend to obtain more benefits from the use of the Internet are, on average, young, well-educated and with a higher income, thus reinforcing their already privileged social positions.

Different levels of digital inclusion are related to socioeconomic and sociodemographic features, namely gender, age, income, education and occupation.

Our data contributes to reinforcing the idea that offline social structures and practices influence individuals’ ability to use digital technologies as an empowering tool of social inclusion.

Socially disadvantaged citizens, even when they access to the Internet, tend to not fully exploit the benefits offered by it, missing the opportunity to use the Internet as a tool of social inclusivity.

As a vicious circle, those already (socially) marginalized miss the opportunity to use the Internet as a tool of social inclusivity, thus being further marginalized.

The results of this research might help policy makers to identify where they should intervene, which areas need more attention and which lack of digital competences need to be mitigated.

Towards digital sustainability: the long journey to the sustainable development goals 2030

Sparviero, S., Ragnedda, M. (2021) Towards digital sustainability: the long journey to the sustainable development goals 2030, Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, https://doi.org/10.1108/DPRG-01-2021-0015

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to suggest that, to build a digital sustainable society, core terminal and instrumental values of sustainability and sustainable development should be followed across different worldviews, and in the formulation of policies or other initiatives form private and public stakeholders. These values are normative, they support the coordination of efforts of different stakeholders and can serve as guidelines for driving the development trajectory of technologies contributing to a sustainable society.

Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual paper defines digital sustainability from the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development. From the Rio Process (1992), through the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), this paper analyzes and theoretically discusses the intersection between digital aspects of human life and wider sustainability concerns for humanity and the planet. Technologies and digital processes are functional catalysts to the achievement of the UN 2030 SDGs and crucial for individuals’ everyday life, but their adoptions is also conditional to a variety of conflicting worldviews.

Findings – This paper focused on the role of digital technologies in innovation and transformation and their impact on the environment, individuals, society and economy, from a theoretical point of view. Digital technologies have changed the way in which people communicate, study, work, interact and even look for friends, relationships and love. It is, therefore, important to reflect upon the impact that this revolution would have on the individuals and on the wider socio-economic, political and environment context. In this vein, this paper attempted to reflect on the sustainability of this revolution, by sketching the concept of digital sustainability drawing upon the concept of sustainability.

Originality/value – Digital sustainability – like sustainability – relies on three universal values: equality, harmony, self-determination. In fact, to be sustainable, the use of digital technologies should be led by the equality value, namely, the need to not compromise the future generations, both in terms of exploitation of natural resources to produce them and in terms of to create and nor reduce job opportunities for future generations. Second, digital technologies might help tackling both the ecological and social crises through a universal collaboration according to the harmony’s value. Finally, the third value for digital sustainability is self-determination. It applies to individuals and social formations and it refers to the capability of being in control of your destiny.